Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lao Jiulou: 老酒楼 Old Restaurant or Bukit Desa Kopitiam @ Taman Bukit Desa


What's old is very much new again: Lao Jiu Lou, or Old Restaurant, is the latest bulwark of F&B emperor Seiji Fujimoto's dominion over Taman Desa, a ramen specialist that's poised to become Fujimoto's fourth suburban smash after Sanuki Udon, Taishu Yakiniku BBQ & Maruhi Sakaba Yakitori.

Lao Jiu Lou feels like a cool hybrid of an old-fashioned Japanese izakaya & a roadside Chinese hole-in-the-wall; it's atmospheric without overdoing it, evoking elements of Fujimoto's earlier eateries to stir up something with triumphantly singular charm. Bravo.

Fujimoto has repeatedly proven that he's more than savvy enough to know what works for Taman Desa; Lao Jiu Lou is well-thought-out in every respect. Its food falls unfailingly in the 'cheerfully cheap' classification, with RM9 tonkatsu ramen reigning on top of a one-page menu, costing a third of what patrons pay in malls.

Sure, this isn't as sumptuous as the best ramen out there, but it's satisfactory; the broth might not plumb rich, brute-force depths of pleasure, but it's sweet & tasty enough. Half a seasoned egg & a substantial slice of pork cha-siu round up the fundamentals for a freshly made, fuss-free lunch that's filling & fulfilling.

Pork gyoza clocks in at RM5 (a lamb variation will be available soon), pillowy-plump & juicy, with thick but soft skin, delicious when gobbled up piping-hot with ginger & vinegar. 

Chinese components offered here include spiced roast pork (RM12), siu yok that's nothing if not absolutely addictive. 

Moreish morsels of flavoursome succulence, with a golden-brown topside that's notable for its firmer-than-expected crunch. Served with melt-in-the-mouth potatoes & crisp carrots. 

More meatiness: Cha-shu with cabbage (RM10). Best with rice or noodles. 

Lao Jiu Lou's menu is less than descriptive: Some customers might dismiss what's simply typed out as "Steam Chicken," but they'll have missed a memorable mix of chicken leg with flat rice noodles & veggies on a platter of salty soup (RM10). 

Similarly, the cryptically named 'Special Rice' is something less ordinary, a balanced meal with minced meat & waxed sausage. Not quite lap mei fan, but comfort food always makes for delightful discoveries nonetheless.

Alas, no sake is available, but Japanese Asahi & Chinese Tsingtao beers are.

Lao Jiu Lou is on the same street as Sanuki Udon & the two other neighbourhood newbies, The Soda Factory & Encore Patisserie. Look for the lanterns, since the permanent signboard isn't up so far.  It opens all day long, 11:30am-9:30pm, but is closed on Mondays, like Fujimoto's other outlets. 

Lao Jiu Lou 老酒楼 Old Restaurant
Also known as Bukit Desa Kopitiam
Jalan Bukit Desa 5, Taman Bukit Desa, Kuala Lumpur


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27 comments:

  1. It would be great if u could have a bowl right now

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    1. Cquek: would be a heart-warming supper :)

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  2. Fuuu! I like the exterior of this place, got "feel" haha, but i'm not really too interested in the food though, a little too "common"

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    1. Ken: the decor is definitely more interesting than some might give it credit for! =)

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  3. I love the exterior of this restaurant, and the food looks very special and authentic to me too, seems like something worth trying!

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    1. 比比: ya, i think if you're looking for a casual dinner in taman desa, this place would be a good choice! :)

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  4. I was waiting and waiting, thought it would open before I left, lol.

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    1. CK: ooo, ya, all the new eateries in taman desa opened after you were already gone! =)

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  5. Very nice decor, Sean. I love the Chinese lantern, too.

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    1. Linda: yeah, those lanterns add a celebratory atmosphere :)

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  6. You are right, never seen this restaurant before. This is a new place. Will try it with my buddy soon!


    Wilson
    http://www.placesandfoods.com

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    1. Wilson: hope you enjoy your experience here! =)

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  7. Nice decor here - I like it. Seems like I really got to pay a visit to this street soon - it's booming! And Seiji Fujimoto is just like Midas, I think, all his restaurants seem to be doing really well!

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    1. Baby Sumo: yeah, it's fascinating how this street suddenly started to explode with new eateries. i think seiji is super-smart ... he knows exactly how to lure customers and keep them coming! :)

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  8. OMG!! So pretty! So instagram worthy! LOL
    And can shoot some gorgeous pics here too. After a bowl of noodles and siew yok and char siu of cos :D

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    1. Rebecca: that's true, and your photos of the siew yok will be really pretty too! :D

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  9. Ooooo...the spiced siew yoke and the cha-shu looks tempting...dun mind having a go at the steamed chicken flat rice noodles...am intrigued on how the flavours will be...hehe =)

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    1. Ulric: ya, the meaty stuff here fares well =) the chicken broth is salty, so some folks might not like it so much, but i think it goes well with the healthy steamed meat and the smooth noodles, heh :D

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  10. Like you said, what's old is actually rather new. If you want old, come to Sibu - Hock Chew Lou - the menu hasn't changed since the 50's and 60's...and neither has the place, not much.

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    1. Suituapui: that sounds like something my grandmother might appreciate! =)

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  11. Oh my! The ramen is so affordable!

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    1. Cheryl: yeah, i think it's basically worth the RM9, heh =)

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  12. This place is great! My fav by the sanuki boss so far. The steam chicken and special rice is my fav. Though I still need to try the roast pork. Thanks to him Taman Desa has more cheap and good eats. Wonder what's next, perhaps western fusion? or korean n jap fusion? or hopefully my fav shabu-shabu :-)

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    1. Yun Qi: ya, it seems like he launches one restaurant a year or so, so hopefully we can look forward to another place from him by 2015. glad to hear you like this place too :)

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  13. Went back to Lao Jiu Lou last night and it was full at 8pm! They added some stone tables by the alley and even those were snapped up. Ordered the roast pork but it looked very different from what you had, looked more like char siu instead, but the sides and arrangement is the same as your picture. Strange...

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    1. Yun Qi: wonder if they're tinkering with the menu ... hmmm, or maybe they ran out of roast pork ... ya, strange...

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  14. Went to this restaurant today ,around 4pm..hoping to have a taste of the ramen after reading your blog..but turned out to be a total disappointment as they were having their short break from 2.30-5.30 (means they will only resume their business starting from 5.30 pm).The staffs and workers are all hibernating inside ,snoring their way on the restaurant's benches..please be kind enough to acknowledge this information to your readers..otherwise, more are gonna face the same disappointment in future..

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